Law of Cards: MLB, NHL, NBA, CLC Take on Websites Allegedly Selling Fake Goods

Law of Cards: MLB, NHL, NBA, CLC Take on Websites Allegedly Selling Fake Goods

So, the University of Alabama, Major League Baseball, the University of Oklahoma, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the Collegiate Licensing Company walk into court --

It's not the beginning of a joke. It's an actual lawsuit. On October 7, the MLB, NBA, NHL and colleges everywhere teamed up in the Northern District of Illinois to shutdown websites selling allegedly counterfeit goods.

And the leagues and colleges moved fast, because on October 9, they had a hearing, where the court ordered:

Plaintiffs' Ex Parte motion for entry of a (1) Temporary Restraining Order, (2) Domain Name transfer Order, (3) Asset Restraining Order, (4) expedited discovery order, and (5) service of process by mail and electronic publication order 6 granted....Plaintiffs shall deposit with the Court Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000,00) as security. The Temporary Restraining Order shall remain in effect for (14) fourteen days.

Legal translation: The plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to shut down the sales of allegedly infringing goods while the lawsuit is ongoing. It looks like they won, and the allegedly infringing websites are restrained for 14 days. And all the plaintiffs need to do is post a $10,000 bond.

So, who are the websites being sued?

Well, that's "under seal," so, we don't know who they are. Which seems silly. Courts are supposed to be open to the public. Sure, some "trade secrets" should be afforded protections from public disclosure, but the identity of the companies selling allegedly fake goods?

Obviously, if we don't know who the defendants are, we also don't know their positions. So, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens on this one.

If you want to read more on the case, here is the complaint and the memorandum in support of plaintiffs’ temporary restraining order. Everything else that's interesting is filed under seal.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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